Like the wind chill, the heat index is a number created by sadists to convince us that we are more miserable than we are.

19 July 2016 · Comments Off on Conventional Bloggery · Categories: Personal Musings, Political Theatre

Don’t expect much about events at either the Republican or Democratic conventions in these electrons. I’ve long considered what happens at political conventions, like election results, to be something to read about over coffee the next morning.

Besides, at least this week, I couldn’t bear to look, even if I wanted to. Cleveland is already turning uglier than I feared it might.


I wonder how long the corporate media can maintain their fiction that the Republican convention is “politics as usual” and that “both sides do it” in the face of events in Cleveland? Yesterday, the headlines at Raw Story and Crooks and Liars looked like stuff the Onion Mad Magazine would not have dared to make up.

(Indefinitely, I suspect. It’s what they are paid for.)

12 July 2016 · Comments Off on Sanity Break · Categories: Personal Musings, Political Theatre

No, despite what you may hear, the whole country is not going crazy.

It’s the Republican Party and its dupes, fellow travelers, and symps that are melting down. The rest of us are okay.

Keep that in mind.

08 July 2016 · Comments Off on Stray Question · Categories: Personal Musings

Why do the manufacturers of sneakers (“trainers” in the UK) default to using laces long enough to moor a boat (or get tangled in your bicycle chain)?


From the Bangor Daily News, William M. Daley poses a question for Bernie Sanders. I’ll paraphrase it:

I’m a member of the Democratic Party for a very practical reason; I even volunteer in my own small way.

I realized that, after decades of voting, I had only ever voted for two Republicans (Larry Coughlin when I lived in Pennsylvania and Bill Roth when I lived in Delaware, both of them good and decent men, though Roth was in his dotage when he ultimately left political life); neither would be welcome in Today’s Republican Party(TM).

As I try to live in the real world, whatever the details of my ideology might be (trust me, it’s much farther left than you might think-I might even be willing to voter for Franklin Roosevelt, were he on the ticket), I decided that I had to cast my lot in the real world. I joined the party that better represented me, as there are only two realistic alternatives in the USA. (If you have a pipe dream of a third party* in the United States, all I can say is that I want a drag on that pipe, because it must be some really kick-ass stuff . . . .)

Parties are organized and have rules; it’s part of what makes them “organized” “parties.”

You just joined the Party, Bernie, solely so you could run for the nomination and for no other reason. Hell, I’ve been a Democrat longer than you have, and I’m nobody who is younger than you and who officially joined the Party just a few years ago.

You knew the rules going in, and now you want to dictate new rules because your grapes turned sour.

If you lose according to the rules, you have lost. The rules didn’t beat you.

You lost.

Forget the Corvair; Ralph Nader’s legacy will forever be President George the Worst. It would be a damned shame if Bernie Sanders’s legacy is President Ronald McDonald Trump.

Give it up, Bernie; you’ve worn out your welcome. Don’t be another Nader.

More »

03 July 2016 · Comments Off on Stray Question · Categories: "That Conversation about Race", Personal Musings

Have you noticed that, when it’s black folks, the drug is heroin and usage is a crime wave; when it’s white folks, the drug is “opioids” and usage is a health emergency?

Just sayin’.


The Washington press corps loves to talk about the “pivot.”

They have a fanciful notion that a candidate can be one person during primary campaigns and turn into someone else, or “pivot,” during a general election campaign. They are waiting anxiously for Donald Trump to pivot, to become “more presidential” (whatever the hell that is–maybe refraining from insulting peoples, cultures, races, and communities for a day or so, maybe not threatening to rain death on foreign peoples as causally as others discuss baseball scores, maybe just not wearing baseball caps indoors–who can say what they mean?).

We recall how well the “pivot” worked for Mitt “Etch-a-Sketch” Romney and John “McMaverick” McCain.

The notion of the pivot highlights the ultimate hollowness of a certain style of political reportage, one that holds no truck with substance. Rather, it believes that strategy is not just everything, it’s the only thing. They care not that somebody’s drugging the race horses and bribing the jockeys, so long as the horse race is exciting. Hell, they’ll quite happily drug the horses and bribe the jockeys themselves if it makes the race more exciting.

They also clearly believe that the voting public is incapable of remembering anything that a politician said or did prior to the most recent pivot. Furthermore, and this is the truly craven part, even as they pat themselves on the back for their “journalistic excellence,” they forsake–nay, they flee–their journalistic responsibility to remind the polity that what some politician said or did yesterday directly contradicts what he or she did or said today.

The true noxiousness of the narrative of the pivot, though, is that it reveals empty souls, souls with no substance and no values, souls which believe only in appearances, which eschew fact, which pay no attention to the men and women behind the curtain.


I don’t have any secret methods for identifying who these “journalists” are other than paying attention to the discourse and reading Driftglass, who specializes in analyzing dis coarse discourse, but a good starting point would be a list of the “journalists” who most frequently appear on the Sunday talk shows.

12 June 2016 · Comments Off on Orlando · Categories: Culture Warriors, Personal Musings

I got nothing that others have not said.

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12 June 2016 · Comments Off on Stray Thought, Anthropology Dept. · Categories: Gunnuttery, Personal Musings

The NRA is a cult of the phallus.

08 June 2016 · Comments Off on Stray Thought · Categories: Personal Musings

Gourmet hotdog” is an oxymoron.

05 June 2016 · Comments Off on Muhammed Ali · Categories: Personal Musings

I once saw Muhammed Ali.

It was only for a moment and he never knew my name.

At the time, my office was in 30th Street Station Philadelphia. On a break, I was wandering about the waiting room (one of the pleasures of working in 30th Street) and Ali and a small group of persons who cared about him (today they would be called “an entourage”) were waiting for a train. He was already in the early stages of Parkinson’s and you could see some of its effects.

As I read the homages to his passing, I note an absence of acknowledgement of the hate that confronted him.

He was hated in the Jim Crow South, where I grew up.

Once he revealed that he had become a Muslim and had taken the name, “Muhammed Ali,” no one in the Jim Crow South, where I grew up, was willing to refer to him as anything other than “Cassius Clay.” When he fought, in the Jim Crow South, where I grew up, the white folks rooted against him, cheered when he lost, and seethed when he won.

When he did what I consider the bravest act of his career, something I would not have had the courage to do, refusing to fight in America’s war for a lie in Viet Nam, the war for a lie of his and my generation, he was reviled as a traitor in the Jim Crow South, where I grew up.

Muhammed Ali committed the gravest crime that any black man could do in the Jim Crow South, where I grew up, for all that America is better for his being, a crime that took more courage than I can imagine.

Muhammed Ali was uppity.

28 May 2016 · Comments Off on Stray Thought · Categories: Personal Musings

I really don’t want to know what it means when you’re on a bike ride, stop for a drink of water, and look up to see a turkey buzzard circling above your head.

Not at all.

21 May 2016 · Comments Off on The Hollow Men* · Categories: Personal Musings, Too Venal for Words

I believe I’ve mentioned before in these electrons that the decay of our society accelerated when everything became “a brand.” Emphasizing “branding” ipso facto is fascination with flackery, admiration of appearances, worship at the holy of hollowness.

At Psychology Today Blogs, Dale Hartley skewers the notion of “personal brands.” A snippet:

Is your “personal brand” who you are, really, when you’re not working or looking for work? If not, then it’s just a false front.


*With apologies to T. S. Eliot.

19 May 2016 · Comments Off on Rules · Categories: Personal Musings, Political Theatre

I was at a political function this past weekend. One of my acquaintances was kvetching about complaints from Sanders supporters about some primaries, specifically, complaints that they “had not been allowed to vote,” when, in fact, the issue was that they had not ensured that they were properly registered to vote.

Virginia is an open primary state, but many states have “closed primaries,” which means that, if you wish to vote in a party primary, you must be a registered to vote as a member of that party. If you wish to vote in the Democratic primary, you must be registered as a Democrat; in the Republican primary, registered as a Republican; in the Green Party primary, registered as a Green, and so on. Delaware, where I used to live, was a “closed primary” state.

This is nothing new.

Sanders supporters who were not registered as Democrats were not allowed to vote in Democratic primaries in closed primary states, and, frankly, that was their own damn fault.

“How simple would it have been,” fumed my acquaintance, “for Bernie to tell his supporters to register to vote.”

For more about rules, see Balloon Juice.

06 May 2016 · Comments Off on “Delivered to Your Door” · Categories: Personal Musings

Take a look at this gallery from SeattlePI and decide whether the game is worth the candle (SeattlePI is all that’s left of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, a once-fine newspaper, my paper of choice when I was in that part of the world).

When I was a in high school, I went through a sci-fi phase (Isaac Asimov was my favorite sci-fi author and should be yours too). I read a story I forget what it was called by an author I forget who it was which envisioned a future in which nobody ever left his or her room. All interaction was via some sort of futuristic television. It was not a nice place to be.

That future is now.


I have a solution for persons who need to get out more.

Get out more.